the smell of my desperation has become a stench

It’s going so well!

I promise you this is not going to become a running blog, although with as much as I have been through physically in the last couple of weeks I’d have content for that site through Q4. Quick, Jon! Let’s get someone to sponsor my hamstrings. That won’t piss anyone off!


Turns out everyone else on our team has worked their way up to 15 miles on the weekend. I was supposed to run 12 miles on Sunday, but last week while sprinting during some interval training I came face to face with a groin injury. (Jon, get your mind out of the trash right now, SON.)

It’s nothing so serious as to take me out of the game, but I’ve had to slow it up a bit, ice like crazy, and pop ibuprofen like raw cashews. See, I’m still eating a paleo diet. I don’t pop candy. Not only did my attitude around food have to change, but so did my metaphors and similes.

Some of my friends warned me about the bipolar relationship I would have with running, and in the past I have totally experienced the lows. I tried running in 2001 for a few months, and even if we don’t count the fractured foot she was still a jealous lover who would drive over to my house and piss on my lawn if I didn’t return a phone call.

(That was the first and only lesbian affair I had.)

During the 10-mile run a little over a week ago I finally experienced the manic, the lover so intoxicating that it makes sense to sneak off to Vegas, withdraw all our savings and hit a Roulette wheel. At mile eight I was like, MILE EIGHT? I have run EIGHT MILES? Life is a beautiful flower.

Two days later when I ran five miles I could tell that running had not taken its medication. In fact, I run with a GPS app that records my pace and speed and mileage, and when that run was over and it asked me how it went I wrote, “BALLS.”

I never know how a run is going to feel, which is exhilarating at times. At times. Usually, it gives me indigestion, and I get so nervous that I feel like puking. So basically, running is that dream where you signed up for a German class but forgot to drop it, and when it comes around to the final exam you suddenly remember you have to show up but can’t find any clothes. WHEEE!

  • whomajigi

    2011/09/20 at 11:44 am

    And of course you are late to the exam.

    You make it sound so great, I’m almost tempted to try running. Except I’m topheavy and a klutz. I go faster than 5mph and I topple.

    (Holy crap, am I first? o_o)

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/09/20 at 11:51 am

    There’s a running shirt that says, “Your punishment is my sport.”

    I always thought of that when I was training for my first marathon.

  • BuenoBabyGirl

    2011/09/20 at 11:53 am

    Running makes my sides feel like they’re filled with broken bits of bike spokes. I’m usually walking by mile point-two-five. My running is not only off its meds but it’s rocking in the fetal position.

  • shestumbledin

    2011/09/20 at 11:55 am

    I had to give up running (crappy old knees) but I sure do miss it. You’re right about what a fickle bitch she can be. Most days I felt like a million bucks when I ran (internally, not externally) but when I’d have a bad day, it would literally feel like someone else was inhabiting my body and that person had no idea how to put one foot in front of the other or breathe without choking. Very weird. I didn’t make it all the way through the comments on your first running post, but my unsolicited advice for you is to make sure your your shoes are 1/2 size bigger than your regular running shoes. No one told me that before my 13.1 and I was about crippled for days after the race.

  • taylor

    2011/09/20 at 12:08 pm

    My first half marathon is Sunday. I don’t know when I turned into one of those crazy runner people… but it happened. This morning I was up at 5:30 am running in the dark while it poured rain. Weirdly it was a good run day and I could have gone for miles.

    Good luck with you training!!


    2011/09/20 at 12:13 pm

    I trained for a half marathon this past year and got the flu two days before the race. To me, that was God’s way of saying DON’T do it!

    Of course, I’m stubborn and am training again. You will get to the point that you know within the first minute of running if it’s going to be a bad run, good run or GREAT one!

  • Rivercat0338

    2011/09/20 at 12:23 pm

    You seriously never know. I can roll out of bed all motivated and rarin’ to go and the entire run is like kicking cement bricks barefoot.

  • shellydk

    2011/09/20 at 12:49 pm

    You will probably get tons of advice for your injury, but try Hammer Nutrition products, specifically Tissue Rejuvenator. Really awesome, natural stuff that supports everyone from the casual athlete to the pro racer. And, you probably could work out a sponsorship deal!

  • jilllovesbacon

    2011/09/20 at 1:45 pm

    I completely understand what you’re saying. I’ve been running for years (but no marathons) and it continues to amaze me that there are days where I’m all, “WOO HOO! I can run forever!” and then the next run I can barely go three miles. What the hell? What if I try to do a marathon and my body decides it’s a bad day? I so don’t get it.

  • jilllovesbacon

    2011/09/20 at 1:46 pm

    Oh yeah, and “The Sanchez Sisters?” Totally get it.

  • Greta Koenigin

    2011/09/20 at 3:28 pm

    Would you please get the makers of your dog beds to sponsor your hamstrings? I’m dying to know who they are. Every time you say hamstring, you can provide a link to the dog beds. This would be both unbridled capitalism and community service. 🙂 Thank you.

    UPDATE: Oops. Just read that this is for a charity event. Strike the above comment. (In another context, I would love to be sold dog beds.)

  • GingerPeach

    2011/09/20 at 2:37 pm

    I know you’re doing this for charity, but as a general matter: How do you rationalize/understand training for a marathon with the general notions of the “working out” side of paleo – – – essentially, that long intense runs and marathons aren’t really “natural” or “healthy” in the paleolithic sense and long, slow movement (like long hikes, long walks) every day combined with short sprints (5-10 sets of maybe 30 seconds of sprinting with 2 minutes of cool down) no more than one or two time a week. There’s information out there in the paleo world to indicate that intense exercise (training and running marathons are usually pointed at as prime examples) are detrimental to health and fitness – they increase cortisol and other “stress” hormones, promote the burning of muscle, etc.

    I started doing the paleo eating lifestyle at the beginning of this year, probably right around when you started, and have also found it to be AMAZING. My recent research into the working out part of the paleo lifestyle has thrown me for a loop (I love my spinning classes) and would love to hear if you might have access to some info that I might not (I can’t afford a trainer!)

  • cory212

    2011/09/20 at 3:01 pm

    Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but are you really sure you want to do this? Just started intensive training and already injured? Running marathons is not natural and hurts your body! I was a runner (no further than 10K)in my 20s and still have a bad lower back from it these many years later. I’m sure the high is spectacular, but limping around for years afterwards can’t really be worth it, can it?

    Just my 2 cents….

  • Annabelle

    2011/09/20 at 4:04 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one having the German dream.

  • mommica

    2011/09/20 at 6:21 pm

    I’ve considered taking up running, but given the fact that there is ice on the ground eight months out of the year, I know I would either a) quit or b) break ALL the bones. Pass.

  • MoxieMichi

    2011/09/20 at 6:33 pm

    I think it will be eternity before I can run ten yards. The closest I get is the elliptical machine, followed by a quick transfer to the treadmill that makes it look like 2.2 miles per hour gets my heart rate up to 70%.

  • Whitney Soup

    2011/09/20 at 7:27 pm

    you inspired me to go running today. i ran half a mile. i almost vomited afterward.

    you still inspired me though. 😉

  • Paulla

    2011/09/20 at 7:59 pm

    I SO get this. Good for you – keep it up! 🙂

  • smjames

    2011/09/20 at 8:17 pm

    My jaw dropped when I read the part about the forgotten German class, I have been having that exact dream for more than 20 years. And if Annabelle above has it too, it must be common.

    [consults Google]

    OMG I am not alone.

  • Janice

    2011/09/20 at 8:32 pm

    Thought this would both cheer you on and inspire your competitive spirit. One year my uncle won the Boston Marathon in his age group of 50 and over. HE WAS SEVENTY-TWO YEARS OLD WHEN HE DID IT!!!!!!!

    Your welcome!!!

  • itsprkles

    2011/09/21 at 5:49 am

    Thank you for reaffirming my belief that I should only run if a bear is chasing me. This running thing sounds about as enjoyable as a knife in the eye. I guess there is something to be said for the feeling of achievement though. My husband is *cough* ‘training’ for a mini-triathalon, and I have seen this roller coaster of emotion first hand. Most days he tells me he’s going to die in the triathalon, and we discuss what clothes I should dress him in for his funeral. But last night? He ran 2.5 miles (I know…. WOW!) and now he wants to run for president!

  • kdogg

    2011/09/21 at 7:49 am

    I know you don’t want this to be a running blog, but are you using a particular method to train? I used Couch to 5k until my back went out on me at week 8 due to a needy 20 month old wanting to be picked up all the time. I still did the 5k last weekend – ran most of it but had to walk some. So, I’m wondering if I should pick C25k up where I left off, just try running 2 miles and building up, or…? Without a specific program to stick to, I feel a little lost!

  • dad

    2011/09/21 at 9:05 am

    You may want to consider reducing your sprint work drastically. Marathon muscles (slow twitch) and sprinting muscles (fast twitch) are different. Generally, long slow runs will help you complete a marathon, fast sprints will not.

  • poptart66

    2011/09/21 at 12:44 pm

    Okay, so one more comment. The other reason for long training is to keep you from injury. When you start increasing your mileage (over 12) you are more prone to injury. Here is a link to an article that talks about the walk/run training.,7120,s6-380-381-386-236-1-3X5X7X8-4,00.html

    You can do this, but be careful, listen to your body and pay attention when it is telling you that something is wrong.

    Keep up the good work, just take care of yourself.

  • mybottlesup

    2011/09/21 at 1:35 pm

    sounds like you’re doing fantastically, even on the “balls” days. i commend you and every other successful runner on the face of the planet.

    i can’t run to save my own life (seriously, if chased, i prefer to just lay down and play dead). i can, however, swim until my heart gives out. but i’ve been told that running and swimming takes two different types of endurance. i don’t know if that’s true or not, it’s just what my father-in-law said.

  • jstilwe

    2011/09/21 at 1:51 pm

    I’m sure you and your trainer have already talked about this, but do you have a nutrition plan for your long runs and the marathon itself? I admit I’m pretty curious about how you would accommodate the paleo diet while also keeping your energy up for 3 and 4 hour runs.

    I am currently in training for my first marathon, up to 16 miles now, and following the Galloway run/walk method, which poptart66 linked to above. I’m a huge advocate of that method, since it’s allowed me to progress to mileage that I hadn’t even dreamed of before, with no injury (ok, except for a strained calf muscle, but that was a shoe insert issue, not the distance). You might want to consider it, particularly given your tight training calendar.

  • Canadienne29

    2011/09/21 at 3:12 pm

    Go Heather!

    I have been running for over 3 years now and still have BALLS runs all the time…had one yesterday, as a matter of fact, even after a weekend of great races. Such is life.

    I guess a lot of people really want to believe that running is bad for you. Never mind that a lot of the studies are now showing otherwise. Haters gonna hate!

  • ohjennymae

    2011/09/21 at 3:53 pm

    i’ve been running for about 10 years and did my first half last december, followed by a ragnar relay in february. not sure i’ll ever do a full 26.2, but i liked the half. i also injured my IT band during training since i did too much too soon. i can birth 4 children, but i still have functionally weak hips, apparently. anyhoo – i hope you’re being careful.

  • Cecile Somers

    2011/09/22 at 2:42 am

    Heather, I’m cheering you on from across the Atlantic: the NYC Marathon will change your life (and that of others, yay).

    But. One thing: be very careful.

    I ran the New York Marathon in 1994 and two guys died, one of them a young guy who made the finish, rang his wife to say “Whoo-hoo I did it!” then collapsed and died.

    Two months is not a lot to train for the big one, but since running a marathon is as much a mental as a physical effort, you will do fine as long as you listen to both body and mind.

    Here’s hoping you will go slow. Better to take 5 hours to run it and live to tell, than 4 hours and die (an albeit glorious death).

    Every Mother Counts!

    Kudos and long slow runs,

  • txdad

    2011/09/23 at 8:09 am

    My first comment. I’ve also taken up running again. Personally I won’t go longer than a half marathon (I’ve done 4 full) since I generally suffer intense burnout after one. But, my hat is off to you and I wish you the best of luck. I had a heart CT scan done a year ago since I cycle heavily and many of the issues people have dying during marathons etc seem to be due to heart abnormalities. The peace of mind was worth the $200. I love your blog – your honesty and humor inspired me to start my own again….

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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